Mercy Executive Named to WGU Nursing Program Council

January 8, 2015

Western Governors University, the parent institution of WGU Missouri, has appointed Mercy Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Linda Knodel to its Health Professions Program Council. In the role, Knodel will influence the education and professional readiness of thousands of nurses across the nation each year.

“I am very honored to serve in this important national role,” Knodel said. “We know there will be a need for nearly 1.1 million additional nurses by 2020. Programs like that of WGU are vital to ensuring we have enough caregivers to meet community needs. It’s affordable and provides nurses a seamless way to achieve their desired degree level.”

WGU is an online, nonprofit university that employs a competency-based model to ensure graduates’ preparedness. The model allows students, many of whom are working adults, to move through courses as quickly as they demonstrate mastery of the subject matter, saving time and money. 

Because of its competency-based model, WGU continually integrates information on workforce needs into its academic programs. Central to this effort are four program councils composed of WGU faculty and outside experts in each of WGU’s degree areas: health professions, business, IT, and teacher education. The Health Professions Council helps define the skills and knowledge that a competent graduate should possess, determine the best ways to assess competence, and helps to monitor and review the relevance of each program over time.

Now with more than 53,000 students living in all 50 states, WGU has more than 11,000 students enrolled in its College of Health Professions, including its popular RN to BSN program. The current composition of the WGU Health Professions Program Council is: 

  • Jane Swanson, Ph.D., RN, NEA-BC, Director, Geri and Richard Brawerman Nursing Institute, Cedars-Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles, CA
  • Dell Oliver, MSN, MBA, RN, Director, Chief Nursing Officer Training Program, HCA Healthcare, Nashville, TN
  • Anna Kiger, DNP, DSc, MSN, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, System Chief Nurse Officer, Tenet Healthcare, Dallas, TX 
  • Sylvain Trepanier, DNP, RN, System CNO Premier Healthcare, Beavercreek, OH
  • Michele Goeb-Burkett, MSN, MBA, RN, CNO Florida Hospital Medical Center, Daytona Beach, FL  
  • Richard C. MacIntyre, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Professor, Samuel Merritt University, Sacramento, CA
  • Patricia Allen, Ed.D., RN, CNE, ANEF, Professor and Director, School of Nursing, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, TX
  • Cole Edmonson, DNP, RN, FACHE, NEA-BC, Chief Nursing Officer Texas Health Resources, Co-Lead Texas Team State Action Coalition, Vice-President Texas Organization of Nurse Executives, Dallas, TX
  • Mary Carney, MSN, RN, WGU Alumna, Night Shift Expert Researcher, Pediatric Critical Care Staff RN, Magnet Champion/Shared Governance Chair, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent, Indianapolis, IN
  • Linda Knodel, MSN, MHA, NE-BC, CPQH, FACHE, 2014 Past President American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), System CNO Mercy, Chesterfield, MO

Established in 1997 by a bipartisan group of U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, WGU has been recognized by the White House as what works in post-secondary education. WGU has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies and featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times.

WGU has earned the support of more than 20 leading corporations and foundations, including AT&T, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lilly Endowment, HCA, Hewlett-Packard, Lumina Foundation, Microsoft, Oracle, SunGard Higher Education, and Zions Bank. More information is available at or by calling 866.225.5948.

Western Governors University offers nursing programs that are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 5380, Washington DC 20036, 202-877-6791).

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